9-year-old girl critically injured after firework explodes in her hands, officials say

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It’s a scary reminder of the dangers associated with the Fourth of July holiday.

A nine-year-old girl was severely hurt by a firecracker she found in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood Sunday morning.

Police say the child came across a powerful firecracker, possibly an M80. After lighting it, officials say, it exploded right in her hands.

The girl was rushed to St. Christopher’s hospital in critical condition.

The accident happened inside a home on the 1800 block of East Wishart Street.

Authorities say the Philadelphia’s bomb squad was called in to search the home for more explosives.

They also brought in the special victims unit to work on the case.

Fireworks are a traditional part of Fourth of July festivities, but safety experts say leave them to the pros — and keep them away from children.

The National Safety Commission’s 2018 Fireworks Annual Report shows there were at least five deaths related to fireworks.

And an estimated 9,100 firework-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency departments.

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Philadelphia police search for missing 13-year-old girl

UPDATED: 11:44 a.m. 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia police have found 13-year-old Kymirah Bennett and say she is in good health. Bennett has been missing since Thursday morning.

Bennett was wearing a dark top and shorts, and red Van sneakers when she was last spotted on the 2300 block of South 25th Street. 

Authorities are not releasing information about where or how she was located.

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2 student members on Philadelphia’s school board wrap up their year on the job

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It’s been a real-world education for the two student members on the Philadelphia school board. As they complete their year of service, they’re making some suggestions for the future.  

In addition to their schoolwork, Julia Frank and Alfredo Pratico have spent the last year visiting schools and attending hours and hours of public meetings. They weren’t allowed to vote, but board members say they provided a vital student perspective. 

Pratico, a Masterman grad who’s heading to the University of Pennsylvania, wrote in a final report that Philadelphia’s education system was “broken.”  But he says establishing a student voice has helped to address that.

“Just the fact that we’ve created now a framework and a template for students to come after us,” he said. “I think not only is the city less broken now that we’re leaving, but there’s a really easy path for students to come after us.”

Julia Frank leaves Northeast High School bound for the University of Pittsburgh.

“I didn’t really know that much about policymaking until I came into this position,” she said. “So one of the things that I learned is that I really gained so much respect for the board. They’re just really a phenomenal group of people.”

The student reps said the most common issue they heard, was that many students didn’t feel prepared for life after high school. They suggested a course that would help students write a resume or prepare for a job interview.

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New AARP report highlights ill effects soaring drug prices have on Americans

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A new report underlines what most of us already know: prescription drug prices continue to skyrocket. People are being forced to make tough decisions.

The AARP’s Public Policy Institute focused on the cost of specialty drugs for treatment of such ailments as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and MS.

“On average those prices have increased three times the rate of inflation,” said AARP’s Leigh Purvis.

Purvis says the average price of a single specialty drug is around $80,000 a year, nearly $20,000 more than the median household income in this country. She says many patients have reached the breaking point.

“We’ve heard from so many members who are having to choose between the drugs that they need and paying for other important things like rent and food,” Purvis said. “And we really don’t think that’s a choice that anyone should be forced to make.”

The release of the report comes on the heels of a new AARP lobbying campaign, called Stop RX Greed. 

“And we are heavily engaged in pushing for solutions on both the federal and the state level,” Purvis explained. “Some examples include allowing Medicare to negotiate on behalf of its beneficiaries, allowing states to import drugs from countries that have lower priced drugs or things like affordability revue boards that allow people to looking at justification of the prices.”

AARP is non-committal about proposals for Medicare for all, but Purvis says they’re watching developments. 

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Governor Murphy poised to sign new budget with changes, avoiding state shutdown

TRENTON, NJ (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey will have a budget on Sunday, averting a possible shutdown Monday. But Governor Phil Murphy is expected to line item veto at least some of the $38.7 billion spending plan approved by the legislature 10 days ago. 

We’ll learn more about what’s cut when Murphy meets with reporters Sunday afternoon. 

Ben Dworkin, who runs Rowan University’s Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship, says Murphy has little choice but to approve the budget, even without the added funding the Governor had sought. 

But that’s not to say the debate over revenue is over, because he’s still got time to get what he wants long-term.

“He’s got two more budgets to go through at least,” Dworkin told KYW Newsradio. “And in those budgets he’s going to be able to come back with his drive to create a true Millionaires tax that begins at the $1 million threshold and to support other items that he wants to see funded in a different way.” 

So what gets cut? Look to some of the add ons legislative leaders have included, since they’re the ones who have forced Murphy into a corner here. 

“Legislative leadership are clearly winners,” Dworkin added. “They were able to get the governor to sign their version of the budget. But the governor is also a winner in the long-term.”

That’s because, in the end, this fight isn’t over programs. They’re pretty much in agreement there. But legislators balked at Murphy’s insistence to make every millionaire in the state pay a higher tax rate. 

That won’t happen. But the governor gets to continue his revenue debate without the ugly ramifications a state shutdown would bring with it.

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Woman rescued after driving car into Montco apartment building, officials say

LANSDALE, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — An elderly woman was trapped in her car for over an hour after she crashed into a Montgomery County apartment building.

The crash took place along the 1000 block of South Valley Forge Road Saturday afternoon.

Photos show the woman’s car almost fully in a vertical position — stuck between two walls at the Brittany Pointe Estates apartment building.

The woman behind the wheel, police say, had veered off the road just prior to the crash.

The Upper Gwynedd Township Fire Department says police were able to safely remove the woman from the vehicle, before they arrived.

According to officials, the woman did sustain an injury, but it was said to have been minor.

There is no word on what caused the driver to veer off the road at this time.

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Thousands are left without power as storms continue to hit our region

UPDATED: 10:00 PM

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A series of storms have swept through our region this weekend and now thousands have been left without power. 

Saturday afternoon kicked off the list of alert issued that would begin with “Watches” and end with “Warnings” from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.

Some of these pocket sized storms left parts of New Jersey seeing more than just rain falling from the sky, according to Meteorologist Lauren Casey.

Beachgoers in South Jersey even got a taste of this summer storms. 

Now, residents across out region are sitting without power as PECO, PSE&G and Atlantic City Electric are working to restore power.

Current totals at this time:

Roadways across the Delaware Valley were also hit hard as the storms left bridges delayed, roads closed and even some traffic lights went dark.

While the sun maybe out in some areas now, the storm threat is lingering as Philadelphia and its surrounding counties are under a “Severe Thunderstorm Watch” until 9:00 o’clock tonight.

For the latest news make sure you stay tuned into KYW Newsradio 1060 AM or stream us online here

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Special regatta viewing party looked to promote diversity in rowing

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A special gathering took place along the Schuylkill River during this weekend’s Independence Day Regatta as an effort to encourage diversity in rowing.

 Not only is Parthenia Izzard a rowing referee, she’s the only African American female officer of the Schuylkill Navy.

“It’s not for a lack of interest, I don’t think,” she said. “It’s a lack of education.”

So, to encourage more participation from the African American community, she invited members of the African American sororities and fraternities to a regatta viewing party in a tent along the river.

“Since I’m secretary now, I sort of brought it up at one of the meetings and talked to the board and they thought it was a good idea,” she explained. “So, I just spread the word and different sororities and fraternities responded and came on down.”

Wanda Lewis-Campbell says for years she’s driven by Boathouse Row and didn’t realize people could participate in rowing by simply joining a club.

“Kids don’t think, ‘It’s for us, she said. We don’t own a boat. My parents don’t own a boat, so how am I going to do this,’” she said.

And Izzard says if you don’t row, you can’t enjoy the benefits.

“We also want to have our young people take advantage of some of the scholarships that they can get,” she adds.

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Clark Park hosts its annual music and arts festival in West Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — West Philadelphia was full of artists this weekend for the annual Clark Park Music and Arts Festival.

“A lot of people are coming down from all across the area, listening to music and enjoying wonderful artwork,” explained artist Larry West.

Craft vender, Elizabeth Peyton, spend her Saturday selling body scrubs.

“We’re out here giving free hand scrubs so hey, we’re just having a good time hanging out in the park,” she said.

West says Saturday’s festival had something for everyone to see, hear and do.

“There’s artwork, music, jewelry, clothing, soap, food,” he explained.

Chelsea Shellenbarger brought out her wares from Germantown.

“I am selling handmade resin-cast jewelry and artwork and I also sew small handbags and scrunchies,” she said.

Shellenbarger explained what she loves best about this particular summer festival.

“It’s such an interesting mix of people,” she said. “You never know who’s going to show up.”

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Hahnemann Hospital no longer accepting trauma patients amid planned closure

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As it prepares to close its doors for good, Hahnemann University Hospital says its emergency department will remain open, but it will no longer be accepting trauma patients.

The hospital notified the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation (PTSF) on Friday night that it is de-designating as a Level 1 and 2 trauma facility.  

“After reviewing our plan of closure and in consultation with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, we felt this move is in the best interest of patient safety,” Dr. Alexander E. Trebelev, Chief Medical Officer at Hahnemann, said in a release. “Unfortunately, we are facing clinical and operational challenges. We cannot continue to serve trauma and STEM I patients under these conditions.”

RELATED: Hahnemann to close, slashing 2,500 jobs

The move comes just days after the hospital announced it would be closing in early September.

“We realize the impact this move, and the closure of Hahnemann has on the city of Philadelphia and surrounding neighborhoods, and most importantly, our staff,” said Ron Dreskin, Interim CEO of Philadelphia Academic Health System, the parent company of Hahnemann. “We wish there could have been a more positive outcome for all.  In spite of our best efforts and meetings with numerous city, state, union, insurance carrier and university officials, a financial solution could not be achieved.”  

RELATED: State orders Hahnemann to ‘cease and desist’ closure

Hahnemann’s trauma center, completed in 1986, was Philadelphia’s first designated-Level 1 trauma center for adults. 

The hospital says the de-designation is effective immediately.

The City of Philadelphia is seeking an injunction to prevent Hahneman Hospital from closing without notice. The city is asking Common Pleas Court to order the hospital’s owners to keep all services operating, including the emergency room.

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U.S. Marshals warn public about new phone scam

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — There’s a new scam in which con-artists are impersonating official government phone numbers to call people in the area and trick them into sending money. 

Local U.S. Marshals are hoping to get the word out to save people from losing thousands of dollars.

So, here’s how it works. A person receives a robocall from what appears to be the official U.S. Marshals Service’s phone number.
  
During these calls, the scammer will attempt to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses. 

They tell victims they can avoid the arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit card or gift card and reading the card number over the phone to satisfy the fine.

“If they’re successful they may have information on the person already that they can get online,” said Eastern District of Pennsylvania U.S. Marshal Eric Gartner.

Gartner says federal agencies will never ever ask for your credit/debit card/gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank account information over the phone. So, if you get one of those phone calls, he says ignore them. 

“Don’t engage them in conversation,” Gartner said. “Simply hang up and, if you can, get the spoof number that they were using and then inform the local FBI office and the Federal Trade Commission of that incident.” 

Gartner says elders are at the highest risk for these types of scams, so be on alert. 

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Philadelphia is suffering a lifeguard shortage, looking for help

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — What’s red, white and in high demand in the City of Philadelphia this summer? You guessed it, lifeguards.

Lifeguard recruitment has always been a challenge for public pools across the country, according to Orlando Rendon with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.

But, he says he thinks he knows why they have fewer guards than usual this summer.

“One of the things that we noticed as well when we speak to folks who are not returning, most people are taking the opportunity to do internships with particular companies rather than just doing life guarding that they’re accustomed to.”

Patrons, Rendon says, should not worry about the shortage because they are making ends meet.

“No pool opens without the appropriate staff and the appropriate equipment working as it does.  The minimum amount of staff that’s regulated by Red Cross, that’s what we do, and that’s how we open.  If a pool is not secure and safe it will never open, but we’re good in terms of running with our resources and making things work so everyone can have fun in a safe manner.”

Rendon adds that anyone who may be interested in becoming a lifeguard should contact Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.

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Owen J. Roberts High School’s Navy JROTC program gets international award

BUCKTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newradio) — The Navy leadership development program at a Montgomery County high school has earned international recognition.

Some six years ago, the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps’ program at Owen J. Roberts High School was barely on life support.

Now, it has been recognized as the most improved of more than 580 high school Navy programs in the U.S. and overseas.

Retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Andrew Worley, a decorated Vietnam veteran who has been overseeing the Junior ROTC program at Owen J the past few years, said he can’t take all the credit.

“We made it a big family and from there on it was just the little things we started putting together,” Worley said. “The unit used to close down in June and open up in September. We go all year round.”

Retired Navy Capt. Craig Armstrong, a senior instructor with the unit, says the honor was well deserved.

“It is such a tribute to the parents and the students, the cadets,” Armstrong said.

Worley concurred with Armstrong’s assessment.

“And, if I had to sum it all up, the real reason all this worked out was support,” Worley said. 

Alison Scott, a recent Owen J. Roberts graduate, spent four years with the program and climbed to the rank of chief petty officer.

“I got a lot of opportunities through here,” Scott said. “So, I got a lot of ribbons and awards for my uniform which stood out. And, I then I got a lot of community service hours and volunteering hours.”

All of which she believes played a role in her admission to Bloomsburg University where she begins studies in the fall.

Worley helped to rebuild the program it into an active service organization that gives back to the community.

He said it also attracted academically-motivated students in recent years. 

“We had a lot of National Honor Society,” Worley said. “We had several go to the military academies. We had quite a few go for the ROTC scholarships.”

Kaylie Minehart, who joined the unit last year, will serve as chief of supply as she enters her sophomore year this fall.

Minehart said she likes the family atmosphere of the ROTC group and is considering a military career.

“I want to go into the Navy, hopefully subs,” Minehart said.

Owen J. Roberts principal Ken Napaver says the program is offering the students skills they can take into the real world.

“That’s one thing the ROTC program does give them is the capability to have some perseverance, have some grit, have the opportunity to collaborate and work together,” Napaver said.

The unit expects an enrollment of more than 100 cadets when school resumes in the fall.

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Philadelphia is suffering a lifeguard shortage, says they are looking for help

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — What’s red, white and in high demand in the City of Philadelphia this summer? You guessed it, lifeguards.

Lifeguard recruitment has always been a challenge for public pools across the country, according to Orlando Rendon with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.

But, he says he thinks he knows why they have fewer guards than usual this summer.

“One of the things that we noticed as well when we speak to folks who are not returning, most people are taking the opportunity to do internships with particular companies rather than just doing life guarding that they’re accustomed to.”

Patrons, Rendon says, should not worry about the shortage because they are making ends meet.

“No pool opens without the appropriate staff and the appropriate equipment working as it does.  The minimum amount of staff that’s regulated by Red Cross, that’s what we do, and that’s how we open.  If a pool is not secure and safe it will never open, but we’re good in terms of running with our resources and making things work so everyone can have fun in a safe manner.”

Rendon adds that anyone who may be interested in becoming a lifeguard should contact Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.

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DOH officials meet with Hahnemann just day after ordering ‘cease and desist’

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It’s been a winding road, and now the Pennsylvania Department of Health says they’ve had their first meeting with Hahnemann Hospital officials since ordering them to cease their closure plans.

According to the DOH, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine met with both with officials from Hahnemann University Hospital and their parent company, Philadelphia Academic Health System.

This comes just 24 hours after Levine ordered Hahnemann University Hospital and its owners to ‘cease and desist’ plans to close the hospital.

“Hahnemann University Hospital is vital to the community’s health care and its owners cannot stop treating patients with no plans in place for their continued care,” she said in a statement Thursday. “There is a legal process in place to ensure that this difficult transition happens in a way that protects public health. Hahnemann must follow that process, including keeping its emergency department open.”

Today, Levine says PAHS met with her and her department to discuss their closure plan.

“Both parties expressed their commitment to working in a way that protects public health with minimum disruption to patients and staff,” she said. “We appreciate the owners’ willingness to hear our concerns and their intent to meet our recommendations.”

Related:

In addition to Friday’s meeting in Harrisburg, the DOH says they’ve sent a team to the Center City hospital to “monitor the situation at Hahnemann.”

According to Levine, the department’s cease and desist order will remain in place as further conversations between both parties continue.

The Keystone State isn’t the only one looking to force Hahnemann’s doors open, as the City of Philadelphia joined Drexel University in an injunction to prevent Hahnemann University Hospital from closing without notice.

Philadelphia is hoping a judge will order American Academic Health Systems to keep the hospital open and is using the Fourth of July festivities as a reason for urgent action.

“Attendees would be required to travel or be transported to more distant facilities” in case of an emergency, the motion states, creating “a significant risk (of) … harm to their health and safety.” 

They also argue that Philadelphia would suffer irreparable harm if the hospital shuts its emergency room without notice. The Vine Street hospital is the only location in the city that offers special nursing assistance for sexual assault victims.

Drexel’s request for a preliminary injunction is set for Monday, as Hahnemann says they will close in a orderly manner around Sept. 6.

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